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How we draw animal tracks

the production of our field guide

The text below is a transcription of the text from the vlog above. Our English language field guide on the Western European animals is nearing completion. And each time we surprise ourselves with how much work is involved with the production of a field guide. Especially the drawing of tracks is taking up a lot of time. In this vlog I want to show you our process of drawing those tracks.

Our Dutch language field guides on tracks, trailing and scat have been released a few years ago. And they have sold thousands of copies since. You understand by now, over the years we have build up a large collection of drawings of tracks. Of which we are now ready to release an English language field guide.

So let me explain you the process of how we draw the tracks. First step is getting a large collection of photos of how you can find that track in the field. As you probably know, it does not work in nature like, you go to an area and you photograph the tracks. We often need to go several times to a certain country or area in order to get those photos. Occasionally, we also make use of zoos. Like for example with our track of the golden jackal. From all these photos we try to make an “average type of track”. You probably know, tracks vary depending on the sex of the animal. But also for example the age and type of soil. Once we have this average track, the next step starts. And that is to draw the main features of the track inside a computer program. We use a computer for that, because in a computer it is very easy to change a few millimetres or any other adjustments afterwards. Once this first drawing is ready, it is being spread around in the Weylin Tracking team. And being discussed and changed until everyone is happy. And then it is ready for the next step.

Next we will print the image. And start to draw in the details of the track. You might think, why aren’t the lines good enough? Well, we think if we draw the track, it will give a more natural presentation of the track. Also, this gives us the possibility to draw in for example hairs or other small features that you can find in a track you found in the field. Once this is done, we scan in the image in high resolution back into the computer for the final editing.

Once back in the computer, it is still not done. The final adjustments are made. Small touching up. But once that is done, the track is finally complete! As you can see, it is quite a long process indeed!

And just tracks alone don’t make a field guide yet! We have been thinking for a long time about for example what format the field guide should be. It should be small and lightweight enough that you will carry it standard in your backpack. We don’t want it to be an addition to your bookshelf. We want you to be able to actually use it in the field. That is also why we choose wire-o as the binding. Because it makes it really easy to open the field guide and hold it next to a track you found in the field.

I hope you liked this insight in how we draw our tracks. If you like this video we would really appreciate a like. And maybe consider a subscribe. And then we will see you in our next vlog!

Our English language field guide will be ready in the fall of 2019. Please have a look at our online shop where we sell our field guides.